neil george hair products at viceroy miami

Ask my fiance and he’ll tell you that he often hears murmurs of discontent coming from me after I’ve washed my hair at a new hotel. The problem? The conditioner. So many hotels offer guests awful, harsh hair and body products and it never fails to frustrate me. I’d happily pack my own shampoo, conditioner and body lotion were it not for airline restrictions on liquids. But I can’t. And so, I’ve often moaned about the terrible hair conditioner at hotels. And if you’re in Europe, the problem isn’t even bad conditioner. It’s no conditioner. Why don’t so many European hotels have conditioner for guests?

I recently stayed at the Viceroy Miami and found the best shampoo and conditioner combo I’ve ever used at any hotel.


These Neil George hair products (from LA celebrity hair salon Neil George) were amazing. Not only do they smell good enough to eat, they left my hair silky, shiny and without a tangle to be found. It was so nice not to have to tug my hairbrush through a mass of knots and break my hair in the process. Even better, the room had full-size bottles of all the products. This was great for me because those little hotel-sized bottles of conditioner are nowhere near enough product for my long hair. But don’t think you can stuff these freebies in your bag when you leave – the shampoo and conditioner will cost you $45 each.

Thanks, Viceroy for the great hair products!

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travel essential: dual voltage flat iron

How have I not known about dual voltage flat irons before? On three previous trips to Europe, I have blown my flat iron and/or hair dryer. The voltage just doesn’t convert. A guy in Radio Shack explained that adapters work for electronic devices (like your computer) but not electric devices, like my beloved flat iron. I’ve got bangs that need to be straightened and not having my flat iron bums me out. Listen, I know there are bigger problems than this. But, in ideal circumstances, I’d have my flat iron with me when I travel. Strolling through Winners a few days before my trip to Switzerland, I saw a display of flat irons (for $29.99). I checked them out and learned that they were dual voltage, meaning they would automatically convert for use in North America and Europe. Of course I picked one up, eager to put it to the test. It worked without a problem in Switzerland. It heats up to a temperature north of 400F and it’s so slim and sleek, it was nice and easy to pack. The one I purchased was made by a company called Ceramika Pro but after looking online, I couldn’t find a website or any additional information on them. Strange. But there are lots more dual voltage flat irons out there for you to choose from. I highly recommend picking one up before your next trip to Europe!

beach bag essentials

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I hate complaining about the weather but sometimes, you just have to. It’s the first week of July and it was c-c-cold outside today. Which leaves me with no other choice but to dream about warm weather destinations. So, in my mind, I’m packing my bags and heading to the beach! Here are my beach bag essentials.

1 Sunglasses: I love my Prada sunglasses, definitely a splurge but they just look so good! And besides, you do NEED UV protection when you’re outdoors!
2 Cotton hobo bag: Available at Old Navy, this bag is perfect for the beach or for toting around town. It’s so easy to fold and pack, which is another reason I love it.
3 Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunblock: Sunblock is a beach essential but I love this Neutrogena sunscreen because it goes on smooth and feels dry to the touch once applied. I hate sunscreens that are hard to rub in and leave you feeling greasy.
4 iPod Touch: How did we ever live without our iPods? Full of my fave tunes and even a handful of movies (not to mention a vast assortment of games and other apps), my iPod goes where I go! Perfect for relaxing on the beach and the passing time on the plane.
5 Havaiana flip flops: Stylish. Comfortable. Inexpensive. Perfect.
6 OPI nail polish: OK, so you can’t fix up a botched nail polish job on the beach but it doesn’t hurt to have your nail polish on hand just in case!

What are your beach bag essentials?

purifying waterless hand soap

fruits-passion-waterless-hand-soapA purifying waterless hand soap, you say? Perfect! Especially for a germaphobe such as myself. This handy travel-sized hand wash doesn’t require water, which means that you can give your hands a quick clean before eating on the go or after touching … you know … whatever that was your hand just grazed on the bottom of that table. Yuck! I usually try to keep some Purell handy but I love this new product from Fruits and Passion. Love the packaging and the fragrance, too. It has the soft scent of orange and cantaloupe.

Available online at fruits-passion.com.
Price: $6.50

ahava: delights from the dead sea

ahavaI was just recently in Israel (I wrote about it if you missed it; check it out here) and unfortunately, I was so sick the day we visited the Dead Sea, that I missed out on the opportunity of a lifetime. Swimming, or floating, rather, in the Dead Sea was one of the exciting things I was looking forward to doing but when you’re sick, you’re sick! Instead, I spent the afternoon virtually passed out at a picnic table in the shade, about a five-minute walk from the sea. I just couldn’t do it.

Not only is the Dead Sea known for the fact that it’s the lowest point on earth (422 metres below sea level) and for the fact that you can’t sink in its waters (even if you’re a terrible swimmer, like me!) but the sea is believed to have major healing properties due to the mineral content of the water. Ahava is an Israeli cosmetics company that makes facial, body and skin care products using natural Dead Sea ingredients that restore skin’s health and moisture balance. Sounds good, right? The products are available in many stores but if you’re interested in trying them out, check out Bath & Body Works. The Body Delights Travel Sampler comes in airline-approved travel sizes and features a mud exfoliator, a mineral hand cream, a mineral foot cream, a purifying mud mask, mineral body lotion, a mineral shower gel, a flower mirror key chain and a white mesh lipstick case. For $12.50, how could you go wrong? Visit bathandbodyworks.com for more information.

crabtree & evelyn’s 60-second fix manicure set for hands

After some careful consideration, I think it’s safe to make the following statement: I’m a germaphobe. And I think I have an increasingly severe condition. I can’t help it. Especially when I travel, I am constantly washing my hands, dousing them with Purell or using anti-bacterial wipes to wipe down everything from my seatbelt on the plane to the remote control in my hotel room. (Incidentally, remote controls are rumoured to be one of the dirtiest items in a hotel room, along with the drinking glasses you often find in the bathroom. Yuck!) Anyhow, the result of all this compulsive hand washing is that my hands are left dry and raw. Sometimes they actually hurt because of the frequency with which I wash them. I try to carry hand lotion with me at all times but even so, it doesn’t always do the trick. The solution? I’ve finally found it! Crabtree & Evelyn’s 60-Second Fix Manicure Set for Hands is incredible! Literally, in 60 seconds, my hands felt soft (honestly, like velvet!), soothed and restored. First, you exfoliate gently, then moisturize your hands with the lotion. The intensive shea butter and seaweed formula must be just the right combination because the results are wonderful, especially if you suffer from chronically dry hands like me. Available in a mini size, perfect for meeting airline regulations regarding liquids. Try it. You’ll like it.

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